Setting out to learn everything there is to know about rug making, is to embark on a educational journey that will last a lifetime and immerse you in the ancient cultures of the families and tribes who inhabit the remote villages in exotic lands like Iran, Pakistan, Nepal, Turkey, Iran, and India…
Take the first steps of your journey at ABC Decorative Rugs, where you can experience the spectacular products that began as simple strands wool on the back of a humble Dhumba sheep of Pakistan, prized for its lanolin enriched coat. The extra lubrication makes the wool it all the more durable and valuable once it's dyed, twisted into yarn and woven into a fine rug by artisans – never, ever children.
When you visit ABC Decorative Rugs, see if you can distinguish rugs of hand-made yarns from the ones woven with machine-made yarns. Here's a tip: hand-twisted yarns tend to have more texture and color variations. Machine-made yarns have a flatter nap and their colors are more consistent.
When you visit, our associates will tell you more about region and people who made each rug. They may show you all the steps required to knot those simple strands of wool together into a work so exquisitely beautiful that it could hang in an art gallery, and so durable it could adorn your floors in your home for a lifetime.
Basic Oriental rug designs have withstood the test of time as they have been handed down by families-families, from one generation to the next, each new generation adding subtle modifications along the way. ABC Decorative Rugs associates will be able to tell you can tell you all about the history and meaning of each rug and design you prefer, including where it was originally woven.
You can learn a lot about the history of rug making, history of the Middle East, various international intrigues simply by tracking down the origins of the carpet you choose, its design and the materials used in its fabrication.
The Weaving Process
The most valuable and exquisite rugs are hand made. Each one is a unique work of art. When examined closely, they often reveal the personal touches of the artisan who made it.
Modern weaving is an ancient art. The warps and wefts are the backbone of the rug. Knots are hand-tied horizontally across the warp threads row by row to create the design. Following each row of knotted threads, a second series of threads known as weft, interlace with the warp.
The color and thickness of the yarn, and the knotting style determine the appearance of a rug. No two rugs are exactly alike. The wool yarns may be of a slightly different hue; the knots themselves may align differently to form a truly unique, one-of-a-kind rendering.
Natural dyes come from plants and even insects. The colors from these sources convey an earthy honesty in beautiful, lustrous tones. Modern synthetic dyes can create an infinite range of colors. These chrome dyes are stable, permanent and attractive. Many quality rugs are made with a mixture of natural and chromatic dyes.
The final washing process is necessary to cleanse the wool and enhance the colors. Quality rugs made with hand-spun, hand-dyed wool do not need an elaborate wash. A natural soap wash preserves the intrinsic qualities of a handcrafted rug and embellishes its antique appearance. The colors will remain "fast," maturing only slightly over decades.
It is the knotting, or tying of the colored yarn around the threads of the foundation that creates the pile of a carpet.
The most important factor in the creation of a quality rug is its basic construction and the integrity of its principal materials. Rugs do not need to have a high knot count to be high quality, so you should be wary of someone who tries to sell you a rug solely on the basis of knot count.
Knotting is a very precise skill and it is the major factor in the look of a finished carpet. The pile is formed from various types of knots; the most common of which are symmetrical and asymmetrical.
As these diagrams illustrate, different knotting techniques are employed depending upon the geographical origin and specific use of the carpet.
Important factors that can instill unique character in a rug are the quality of the wool and the integrity of the yarn-making process.
The best wool is long-stapled and high in lanolin. Wool with these qualities produces an attractive sheen and greater thickness, and increases the yarn's durability. High-quality wool is derived from sheep sheared in the spring, after the cold winter months have induced the growth of a thick protective fleece. The method of spinning raw wool greatly influences the final character of the rug. When wool is machine spun, the resulting yarn produces a very consistent thickness and twist - consistently uniform, inch by inch.
Due to this uniformity, this machine-made yarn absorbs the dye with the same color valuation throughout.
Artisans using hand tools produce hand-spun wool. Given the slight changes in the diameter of the threads, hand-spun yarn accepts the dye in different quantities and values, so it will appear lighter or darker depending on the subtle differences among individual threads and the point from which one looks at the rug.
This slight variation in color gives each quality rug unique, one-of-a-kind ambiance.